The Owls missed a chance to move into first place in the American Athletic Conference on Friday, but coach Bakeer Ganes said he’s remaining relaxed and patient.
“I thought we did a lot of things right today,” Ganes said. “The fact is one team has to win, and one has to lose. Just because we lost tonight doesn’t mean we didn’t play well.”
The Owls saw their 10-match win streak come to an end with a 3-2 loss to Tulsa, which brought a six-game win streak of its own into Friday night’s match.
The Golden Hurricane jumped out to an early two-set lead with scores of 25-18 and 29-27, respectively.
The Owls countered with two back-to-back set wins of 25-16 and 25-15, forcing a fifth set, the second time in 10 days that they have played a match that has gone the full distance.
In the fourth set, the Owls dominated offensively, at one point scoring eight unanswered points and earning the set win by a margin of 10 points.
“There were a lot of positive things going on in that set,” Ganes said. “The keys were that we served very well and we blocked really well.”
In the deciding fifth set, the Owls kept the scoring close, at one point notching a 10-10 tie. However, Tulsa scored five consecutive points to end the match.
Two Owls, freshman outside hitter Dara Paric and sophomore outside hitter Tyler Davis made it into double digits for kills, earning 12 and 11, respectively. Junior middle blocker Kristen Overton contributed 8 blocks on the night.
With the win, Tulsa moves to 20-8 and 12-5 in The American, a conference in which the Top 5 teams are separated by no less than two games apiece.
“(I believe) that we are in the best volleyball conference in the country,” Ganes said, “Everyone is able to beat each other.”
The Owls now turn to their next match on Sunday with Southern Methodist, which is currently tied for fourth in The American with Tulsa.
“Obviously, we want to beat SMU,” Ganes said. “With a win, (it looks like) we will finish second, but we still have a shot to finish first. That’s what we want to aim for.”
Ashlyn Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @AshlynMiller8.